Now, to cover a well-known song is a tricky thing to do. To cover a Smiths track is almost fucking impossible. Not only do you have to go some way to convey the layered lyrics, not only is the vocal range huge, but The Smiths have an army of fans willing to tear your head off for even breathing Mr Morrissey’s name, let alone attempt to emulate or re-create his work. Well, that’s what Car Seat Headrest have done.
Will Toledo has taken on the 1985 track ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore’ from the brilliant album Meat Is Murder. They have taken a stripped back approach, taking away their usual fuzzy, garage sound and gone all MTV Unplugged.
He has somehow managed to do the song a service however. Toledo, with the acoustic sound, portrays the song’s central themes with aplomb and does so as a genuine fan rather than a bit-part appreciation of The Smiths. It rings of honesty, empathy and sadness – exactly what Mozza and Co. would’ve wanted.